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DENR 8 intensifies forest protection efforts

US Embassy supports safe coverage of journalists for the Philippines’ 1st Automated Elections

PGMA visits San Jose De Buan, Samar inaugurates KBP projects

Figueroa, Redaja still lead in poll survey in Samar

Calbayog Prosecutor’s Office conducts marathon inquest proceedings against gun ban violators

KARAPATAN shows true color, calls for the release of 43 self confessed NPA

DILG-8 has a new leadership as Dir. Paler retires

One rebel slain in encounter

Historic opportunity to stop climate chaos squandered in Copenhagen

GAB boxing chief credits U.S. docs for Gorres’ immediate recovery





Court summons Gov. Tan for Mandamus

April 11, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The petitioners representing the Alliance of Concerned Employees (ACES) of the Provincial Government of Samar are triumphant over the issuance of a summon by the OIC Clerk of Court, Ms. Maria Raz Gloria, on the class suit that they have filed against Governor Milagrosa T. Tan of Samar province.

Samar governor Milagrosa Tan
Governor Milagrosa Tan

The case, docketed as Spl. Civil Case No. 36 for Mandamus, was received by the Office of the Clerk of Court of the RTC’s Branch 41 in Gandara, Samar on March 26, 2010.

Acting on the petition filed by Roque L. Limse, Luis Padol, Renato B.Basal, Ruel C. Aying, Catalina M. Saises and Evelyn B. Domingo, the Court has ordered Samar Gov. Milagrosa T. Tan, the respondent, to file her answer five (5) days immediately after the service of the said summon.

Based on the petition, on January 7, 2010, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Samar enacted Ordinance No. 12-28, series of 2010 appropriating the amount of P25 Million for the payment of the grant of the Productivity Enhancement Incentive (PEI) for the Fiscal Year 2009 of all provincial government employees of the Province of Samar at P25,000 each, pursuant to DBM Budget circular No. 2009-5, dated December 15, 2009.

Accordingly, the said ordinance was deemed approved pursuant to the provision of Section 54(b) of RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, considering that Hon. Milagrosa T. Tan did not either veto it or return it to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan within fifteen (15) days from its submission to her for approval.

Furthermore, the petitioners assert that Ordinance No. 12-28 has not been either repealed or nullified by any proper court or any government office or entity, thereby its validity and affectivity for all legal intents and purposes are obviously beyond doubts.

Likewise, their claim was reinforced by the issuance of a certification as to the availability of funds by the Provincial Treasurer. It was learned that the corresponding vouchers and checks has been signed and approved for the release of funds from the Landbank, Catbalogan. However, the records showed that Gov. Tan refused and failed to sign and approve the same checks, notwithstanding that the payment of the subject PEI benefits are authorized under a valid and effective ordinance and funds are available.

On these accounts, the petitioners have no option left to speedily demand and receive the PEI payments as a right, but the instant petition for mandamus.

In the same suit, the petitioners believe that the respondent’s acts were unjustified, capricious, whimsical and deliberate. In the end, they prayed that a Writ of Mandamus be issued to Gov. Tan to immediately pay them the PEI mandated in Ordinance No 12-28, the amount of P60,000 as attorney’s acceptance fee and the cost of suit.

With the case already filed in a proper venue, the ACES has temporarily refrained from holding more protest actions. Mass rallies were held in Calbayog, Basey and Catbalogan a few weeks ago. The same street protests that demanded for better services and a transparent leadership from the Tans, were given massive support by the Samareños.





Rights group slams military’s circus of retaining custody of the Morong 43 political detainees!

April 10, 2010

MANILA  –  The human rights group Karapatan strongly denounces the scripted show that the military of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police have concocted and executed in the supposed “transfer” of the Morong 43 political detainees from Camp Capinpin to the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

It was the most cruel show in the land, with the Philippine Army going through the motions of bringing the detainees in buses (shattering their often-cited reason of not having resources for failing to bring the detainees to the hearing of the CA or the CHR) complete with escorts, parading them at the grounds of the Camp Crame only to be hustled back to Camp Capinpin, and the relatives who were happily looking forward to seeing and holding their loved ones were left holding empty air and in tears!

A closer look into the events of the past two days will show that these government entities – the Philippine Army and the PNP – have mounted a successfully-executed “operation” of thwarting the long-overdue transfer of the political detainees to a regular custodial facility away from the clutches of the military.

On April 7, the Morong court issued an order transferring the political prisoners from Camp Capinpin to the PNP facility in Camp Crame.  It was not implemented by the Camp Capinpin authorities on April 8, citing reasons of lack of buses or escorts, but in fact, allowing time for the PNP in Camp Crame to “file” the PNP’s own motion to the Morong court in the afternoon of April 8, saying that they don’t have facilities to accommodate the Morong 43 political prisoners.  Yesterday, a holiday, these state security forces made a mockery of their own brand of law by executing the most cruel circus in the land.

Yesterday’s show bears out that the the military and the PNP can squander precious government resources and make a mockery of the laws just so their own plan can be executed, their “will” can be imposed on the citizenry and show to the public that they are the bosses (because they have the guns and they say so).

Yesterday’s show emphasizes to the public that the military is bent on “retaining custody” of the Morong 43 political prisoners in keeping with their operative implementation of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya, which this government is determinedly set on implementing to supposedly “end” the insurgency this year.  Yesterday’s circus indicates that the government is set to commit more human rights violations against persons and groups who serve the most marginalized sections of society and whom the authorities simply declare, vilify and consider “enemies of the state, communists or sympathizers, if not outright members of rebel groups.”   Without clear evidences and in spite of hilarious testimonies these authorities declare during open inquiries (as in the CHR hearing on March 18), the military just repeats over and over the malicious labeling of these political prisoners as “members of the NPA” without any solid proof.

This is the line adopted and openly declared by now DND chief Norberto Gonzales to members of the diplomatic community (wherein the military attempted to scare the diplomats by saying that Filipino communists are exporting “cadres” to other countries, while saying over and over again that the military has “crushed and made the communists ‘inconsequential’ in the Philippines”).  This goes to show who the authors of this malevolent program are, with the tolerant acquiescence of the chief executive who is also the Commander-in- Chief who wouldn’t like to relinquish her seat.

The government’s handling of the Morong 43 issue must alarm everyone in this country.  The CBCP statement correctly points this out thus, “The illegal arrest and continued detention of the Morong 43 in a military facility represent serious threat to the civil liberties of the Filipino people.” AND if there is no place where the Morong 43 political prisoners can be temporarily transferred, we therefore reiterate our call:  FREE THE MORONG 43!

Reference:  MARIE HILAO-ENRIQUEZ, Chairperson





Samar experienced only water stress not El Niño said Provincial Agriculturist

April 10, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  Provincial Agriculturist Anita Taran denied earlier reports that Samar province experienced the weather phenomenon El Niño.

In a radio program aired at Paradise FM, at the 34th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, Barangay Erenas, San Jorge, Taran explained to PIA (program host) that the four to six weeks without rain in Samar province is just a condition called water stress.

“If you travel from Calbayog to Basey, all you see is still green, it will be different with El Niño,” she stressed.

Taran recalled the drought in 1997 which she considers then a ‘real’ El Niño.

The pretty lady agriculturist proudly beamed that this cropping season, Samar even recorded an increase in rice production being only second to Leyte province.

She pointed out data from the Samar Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) headed by Zalde Anacta that from a production of last year’s the same given period from January to March with some 28,059 metric tons to this year, with the same period of some 30,201 metric tons.

Taran though admitted that some crops were damaged, but justified so because they planted late, thus the dry spell catching up.

“For most farmers, who planted early, the dry spell coincided with the drying schedule so that the palay is dryer and the quality is better’” the agriculturist beamed.

Taran expressed appreciation for Samarnon farmers who have labored through the years.

“Not only is our production increasing but so with yield per hectare“, she said.

Comparing two similar periods January to March last year and this year, yield per hectare increased from 2.11 to 2.27 metric tons.

“The increase may not be very much but it is still an increase“, Taran concluded. (PIA-Samar)





All is set for 7th National Skimboarding Open in Leyte's Tanauan town

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
April 10, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  All is set for the 7th National Skimboarding Open Competition at the country’s Skimboarding Capital, Tanauan, Leyte.

The 7th Skimboarding Open Competition promises to be bigger as it is being sponsored by the An Waray thru Congressman Bembem Noel, the Provincial Government of Leyte thru Governor Carlos Jericho Petilla and the local government of Tanauan, Leyte, Mayor Roque Tiu informed.

Mayor Tiu said that the Open Competition is scheduled to open on Saturday, April 10 at the Bantay Dagat Area, Barangay Sto. Niño, in Tanauan.

The Grand Opening will start at 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon with guests which include Ms. Kris Aquino, Congressman Bembem Noel, Governor Petilla and others, Mayor Tiu disclosed.

Aside from skimboarding, other sports like Coastal Adventure Race, wall climbing, and Rumba Bugsay will also be conducted as added attractions.

In the evening of April 10, the guests and participants will be treated to a welcome dinner. The Party which will follow after dinner will be accompanied by live guest band from Manila.

The 7th National Skim Open will go on up to April 13, Mayor Tiu said. Every night, presentations such as the San Miguel Beer Night and Bikini Open will be featured, and everyday, wall climbing will also be available for the enthusiasts.

The Awarding Ceremony and Fire Works Display will be conducted on April 13, at about 7:00 o’clock in the evening. This will be followed by a Party with guest band from Manila.

Mayor Tiu said that the activities for the 7th Skimboarding Open started on Easter Sunday, April 4 with a whole day activities and band presentation at 7:00 o’clock in the evening.

Since April 4, nightly activities such as the Hip Hop Dance Competition, Band Presentations, Icot’s IDOL Solo Talent with Bands, and Pepsi Night, have been held at the Skimboarding Area. Food kiosks are also available for those who want to satisfy their gustatory needs.

Mayor Tiu said that the National Skimboarding Competition is the town's contribution to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's thrust of making the Central Philippines Super Region as the Tourism Capital of the Philippines.

The public is invited to witness and participate in the event which is becoming a tourist-attracting activity in the Region.





DENR underscores partnership with GEP

April 8, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Department of Environment and Natural Resources underscored the Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines (GEP), Inc. Eastern Visayas Division, as an important partner in carrying out the department’s mandate of environmental protection and natural resources conservation.

In its 35th Annual Regional Convention held last March 25-26, 2010 at the Asia Convention Center, DENR Regional Executive Director Primitivo C. Galinato Jr., stressed that the Department has always been counting on the expertise of geodetic engineers (GEs) in land surveying. “Geodetic engineers’ role in surveying, mapping and cartography helps us in our actions and decisions towards the management and disposition of public lands,” RED Galinato says.

In his keynote address, RED Galinato disclosed important milestones in land disposition such as the signing into law of RA 10023 – An Act authorizing the issuance of Free Patents to residential lands by Pres. Gloria Arroyo. “With this law, landowners will no longer go through the long process of titling through judicial proceeding or buying their land from the government through sales patent,” he says.

Also, recognizing that professional merit is necessary in addressing environmental issues such as climate change, RED Galinato urged the geodetic engineers to be champions of the environment. “GEs could be instruments in bringing about tangible changes that will save our planet and make it safe and secure for generations to come,” he quips.

Finally, RED Galinato lauded the association for providing services for one of the most important social and economic asset, land. As partners, he urged the geodetic engineers to continue demonstrating competence in land surveying and be consistent in practicing ethical behavior. “Let error-free surveys become shining testaments of the professional excellence that you have established during the past 35 years,” he says.

This year’s GEP Convention was anchored on the theme “Building the Edifice of Professional Excellence.” The GEP Inc. Eastern Visayas Division was established in 1975, it has a total of 153 members to date.





Edu favors "outsourcing" of AFP procurement to civil servants

April 8, 2010

MANILA  –  Administration vice presidential candidate Edu Manzano has endorsed the proposal of former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Narciso Abaya (ret.) to "outsource" the military's accounting, disbursement and purchasing processes to non-uniformed career civil servants.

"This will go a long way in curbing the misuse of military funds that is depriving our soldiers in the field the full support that they need," said Manzano, who once served in the US Air Force as a systems analyst.

"It is totally unacceptable that our troops in the front have to endure lack of weapons, basic protection gear and supplies, partly on account of the misappropriation of military funds," added Manzano, former national president of the Vice-Mayors' League.

Manzano made the statement not long after the Millennium Challenge Corp. decided to withhold the release of $500 million or around P2.35 billion in grants to the Philippines for the country's anti-corruption reforms.

The MCC said it would defer the release of the funds until after the country elects a new president.

Ombudsman records show that two former comptrollers and a former budget officer of the Armed Forces have been separately accused of amassing a combined P479 million in ill-gotten wealth.

Erstwhile officials at the military's Retirement and Separation Benefit System have also been accused of corruption. They have been blamed for bankrupting the pension fund.

Abaya earlier proposed the enlistment of non-uniformed career government personnel to look after military funds.

In the military service, graft and corruption take its toll on the lives of soldiers and on the accomplishments of the mission, according to Abaya.

Military officers that previously rebelled against the government attributed the increasing disillusionment of soldiers to unchecked official corruption.





3 East Visayas cities are confirmed members of “1000 cities, 1000 lives" urban health campaign

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
April 7, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  Three cities in Eastern Visayas have registered and have been confirmed as official members of the “1000 cities, 1000 lives” campaign in connection with the 2010 World Health Day celebration.

Dr. Paula Paz Sydiongco of the Department of Health Region 8 disclosed during the April 6 media forum, that the cities of Tacloban, Ormoc and Maasin are now confirmed members of the campaign.

Various health-related activities have been lined up by the three cities and the cities of Maasin and Tacloban has downloaded videos at the 1000 cities, 1000 lives website.

The City of Maasin has downloaded videos entitled Maasin City’s World Health Day 2010; Urban Health champion - Maasin City; and World Health Day Presentation with Mayor Maloney L. Samaco.

Tacloban Now and Then is the title of the video downloaded by Dr. Gloria Fabrigas of Tacloban City.

The three cities registered their commitment to opening up public spaces to health for one day during the week of April 7 to 11, 2010.

Dr. Paula Sydiongco said that her team will attend and monitor the World Health Day activities in Ormoc City on April 8, Maasin City on April 9 and Tacloban City on April 11.

The “1000 cities, 1000 lives” campaign aims to draw worldwide attention to the theme of urbanization and health and engage governments, international organizations, businesses and civil society in a shared effort to put health at the heart of urban policy.

The 1000 cities 1000 lives campaign encourages cities and individuals to work across multiple agencies with a wide range of partners to have the most lasting impact on health. The global goal is for 1000 cities to participate in the World Health Day campaign.

During the five-day activities, health authorities along with local government units will also provide heath services to urban poor people, it was gathered.

To meet the goal of 1000 lives, citizens will be asked to provide examples of urban health heroes who have had made a significant impact on health in their cities, through video uploads.

One of the overarching goals for World Health Day is to integrate the Day within a sustained public health strategy as demonstrated through a series of regular activities, either at the street, neighborhood, local, national or regional level. The Day should serve as a start or a symbol of a sustained commitment to incorporate health more broadly in urban public policy.





Enrile assails ‘back door entry’ into congress

By Office of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile
April 7, 2010

PASAY CITY  –  Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday urged voters to repudiate candidates who exploit the loopholes in the party-list system just to gain access to Congress.

Speaking over the radio in Laguna, the Senate chief said the people should be wary of these candidates who represent sectors that are not even considered marginalized.

“Masyadong obvious na at ginagawa na paraan (ang party-list system) upang makapasok sa Kongreso. Hindi sa ilalim ng pagiging kandidato sa distrito, kundi ‘yung back door entry sa Kongreso,” said Enrile, a reelectionist under Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

The veteran legislator said the party-list law should be amended to reflect the intent of the Constitution to give the underrepresented and marginalized sectors a voice in Congress. “Kung may pagkakataon ay kailangan na sigurong rebisahin ang batas at sabihin na kung sino ang karapat-dapat na magkaroon ng party list,” Enrile pointed out.

Enrile earlier said that the party-list system in the country was being abused, noting the proliferation of organizations that do not genuinely support the interest of the constituents they represent.

In a list issued by the Commission on Elections, the nominees for 45 out of 187 accredited party-list organizations included former Cabinet members, military officials and outgoing Rep. Mikey Arroyo, the first nominee of a group claiming to represent the security guards.

Fifty-seven seats are allotted for party-list representatives in the 287-member House of Representatives.

Government critics claimed that some of these party-list groups were Malacañang-sponsored and were established to collect votes to support President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s bid for House speakership if she wins the congressional race in Lubao, Pampanga.

While the law has yet to be fine-tuned, Enrile said, the voters can cure the flaws in the party-list law by choosing carefully the organization and candidates they would elect in office on May 10.

“Ang gamot sa usaping ito ay ang taumbayan,” the PMP senatorial candidate said. “Ipakita nila ang damdamin nila sapagkat sila rin ang pumipili ng mga ‘yan. Kung ano ang pinili nila, sila ang manunugkulan.”

He added: “Kaya ang sinasabi ko sa lahat ng aking pinupuntahan ay mag-ingat kayo sa pagboto sapagkat kapag ibinoto n’yo na ang tao, hindi n’yo na mababaawi ‘yon. Luluha kayo kapag nagkamli kayo pero sila ang nagpapasarap. Ganyan din sa party list. Piliin at suriin ninyo at tingnan n’yo kung totoo ba itong party list.”





DOLE bares Labor Day 2010 activities

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
April 7, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  – The Department of Labor and Employment which will once again spearhead the annual celebration of Labor Day on May 1, bared the activities which will be conducted to pay tribute to the Filipino workers both in the private and public sector.

DOLE 8 Director Forter Puguon disclosed that the simultaneous nationwide launching for the Labor Day activities is scheduled on April 8, 2010. This was bared by Director Puguon during the DOLE hosted DOLE-Media Partnership Forum on April 6, 2010 at the DOLE Conference Room, participated by the local tri-media, the members of the DOLE RCC as resource persons and moderated by PIA Director Olive Tiu.

Since the April 6 activity was already scheduled before being informed of the simultaneous launching, Region 8 was allowed to go on with the April 6 event.

The period between April 8 and May 1 will be used for information and advocacy activities through the various media outlets and media programs all over the Region, Director Puguon added.

On May 1, the Labor Day activities will start with a Fun Run tentatively titled as “Kakrida Kita Mga Trabahador Ha Rehiyon 8” which will take off at 5:00 o’clock in the morning, at the DYVL area going to the Tacloban City Convention Center.

At 6:00 o’clock in the morning, Holy Mass will be offered at the same venue where the Labor Day Commemorative Program will be conducted at 7:00 o’clock in the morning.

Solidarity messages will delivered by representatives of the management, labor, and government sector. Intermission numbers are being prepared by several labor associations and private agencies.

Awards await the winners of the Fun Run and the Kabuhayan awardees. The awards will be presented by Director Puguon and the guests.

Highlight of this year’s Labor Day celebration is the conduct of Livelihood Fair and Jobs Fair from 9:00 o’clock in the morning to 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon.

Director Puguon said that the would-be participants in the Fun Run and in the Jobs Fair are required to pre-register. In the case of the Jobs Fair, the reason for the pre-registration is to determine what skills the job-seekers have so that the job-orders in the Job Fair will match the work the applicants are seeking.



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